A pint-sized opportunist, a prince with a warty problem and a lion in desperate need of assertiveness training are just a few of the characters that await theater-going families this weekend.
In Laguna, the Laguna Playhouse Youth Theater Ensemble presents a stage adaptation of the Brothers Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin." Billed by company director Joe Lauderdale as a "fairly traditional" staging, the play follows the trials of a young girl who tries to salvage her father's reputation by spinning straw into gold. An odd little man comes to the rescue, but unfortunately, he has his own agenda.
"Rumpelstiltskin" is recommended for children 4 through 13 and will be performed Friday through April 25 in the Moulton Theatre (606 Laguna Canyon Road). The show will be signed for the hearing-impaired April 17. Tickets: $6 to children, $9 for adults.
On April 22, the ensemble will present a special evening of one-act plays for youths. A fund-raiser for the children's theater group, the evening's titles include "Juvie" by Jerome McDonough, "This Is a Test" by Stephen Gregg and "Act III, Scene 5" by Terrence Ortwein.
The one-acts are suggested for ages 8 and up. Tickets: $6 for children, $8 for adults. For information on both events, call (714) 494-8021.
In Fullerton, the Kaleidoscope Players present "Only My Imagination," an original play by Ronald and Lynn Wood that encourages children to use and trust their imaginations despite social pressures to conform. The one-hour, interactive show features students from Cal State Fullerton's department of dance and theater, and is currently touring area elementary schools.
"Only My Imagination" will be performed Friday through Sunday at CSUF's Arena Theater (State College Blvd. at Nutwood Ave.). Tickets: $5 general admission; $3 for students and seniors. Call (714) 773-3371.
The Garden Grove regional library will host a performance of The Golden State Children's Theatre's "The Wind in the Willows" on Wednesday. (The fast-paced musical was recently staged at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and will return April 23 for a show at Irvine's University Park branch library.) Recommended for kindergartners and up. Admission is free, but seating is limited. For information, call (714) 530-0711.
In Yorba Linda, "The Frog Prince" hops into the public library (18181 Imperial Highway) for two performances April 22. Presented by a five-member adult cast from the Lilliput Players, the adaptation is touring local schools. Admission is free, but families are encouraged to pick up tickets at the library in advance. Call (714) 777-2873.
Two national touring companies, New York-based Theatreworks/USA and San Diego's National Theater for Children have scheduled stops in Anaheim this week.
On Friday at Anaheim High School's Cook Auditorium, Theatreworks/USA presents a musical retelling of Margery Williams' cozy tale, "The Velveteen Rabbit." Billed by a company spokeswoman as "simple but not sparse," the one-hour play is suggested for children 5 to 10. (The play returns to the area May 17 for a run at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.) Tickets are $7; advance purchase is suggested. Call (800) 497-5007.
Elsewhere, you just can't trust those Midwest package tours.
Find out what happens when Dorothy and Toto's trip takes a way wrong turn out of Kansas when the National Theatre for Children presents "The Wizard of Oz."
The abridged (1 hour, 10 minutes) audience-participation musical runs today only at the Celebrity Theatre (201 E. Broadway), and stops in Los Angeles and Long Beach from Tuesday through April 22. (The company takes another turn through Orange County in mid-May, presenting its version of "Robin Hood" at the Irvine Barclay and the Celebrity.)
NTC's "The Wizard of Oz" is recommended for ages 3 through 12. Tickets are $5.90 in advance; $7.50 at the door. Advance purchase is suggested. Call (800) 245-4603.